Three years ago Kevin Smith arrived at Polytech after a successful stint as a coach in Virginia. After years of one and two win seasons for the Panthers’ football, Smith turned things around, winning nine games over two years.
However, before the start of last season Smith accepted the position of athletic director at Polytech. At the time, Polytech didn’t allow a member of the athletic staff to occupy both the duties of AD and that of a head coach meaning Smith had to walk away from the program that he was in the process of rebuilding.
During his year away, the program went through a tough 2015 season going winless at 0-10.
After the dismal season last fall, Polytech decided they wanted their coach back - allowing Smith to return to the sidelines to lead the Panthers while also allowing him to continue his duties as AD.
While Smith was excited and grateful for the opportunity to head athletics at Polytech, the year away from the team and football in general, was not an easy one.
“It was very difficult,” said Smith. I have been coaching in some capacity since 1999, so it was very tough to take a back seat.”
Smith’s transition to the AD role and away from coaching wasn’t without its benefits, however, as he was able to get an intimate look at the rest of the Polytech’s coaches which he says will help him moving forward.
“I think that being in an administrative role has made me pay more attention to detail,” Smith said. “With our excellent coaching staffs a Polytech, I’ve learned a lot from our veteran coaches and they have been extremely helpful with me in the AD role.”
Since officially returning as head coach back in the winter, Smith is as excited as ever to get back on the field when the season begins in the coming weeks.
“[Being back] has been terrific, being around the kids and coaching staff again has been great,” Smith said. “Everyone is working extremely hard to make this season as successful as possible.”
This team is certainly different from the one Smith had to leave behind last year. However, he hopes to continue where he left off back in 2014 when it seemed as if the Panthers were getting closer and closer to turning the corner toward becoming playoff contenders.